A cleft lip may be just a small notch in the lip. It may also be a complete split in the lip that goes all the way to the base of the nose.
A cleft palate can be on one or both sides of the roof of the mouth. It may go the full length of the palate.A cleft lip happens if the tissue that makes up the lip does not join completely before birth. This causes an opening in the upper lip. The opening can be a small slit or a large opening that goes through the lip into the nose. It can be on one or both sides of the lip or, rarely, in the middle of the lip.
Cleft palate is a congenital deformity that causes a multitude of problems and represents a special challenge to the medical community. Special care is needed for patients with cleft palate. Speech production, feeding, maxillofacial growth, and dentition are just a few important developmental stages that may be affected.Children with a cleft lip also can have a cleft palate. The roof of the mouth is called the "palate." With a cleft palate, the tissue that makes up the roof of the mouth does not join correctly. Babies may have both the front and back parts of the palate open, or they may have only one part open.
Causes a Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate
In most cases, the cause of cleft lip and cleft palate is unknown. These conditions cannot be prevented. Most scientists believe clefts are due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There appears to be a greater chance of clefting in a newborn if a sibling, parent, or relative has had the problem.Clefting results when there is not enough tissue in the mouth or lip area, and the tissue that is available does not join together properly.
Another potential cause may be related to a medication a mother may have taken during her pregnancy. Some drugs may cause cleft lip and alcleft pate. Among them: anti-seizure/anticonvulsant drugs, acne drugs containing Accutane, and methotrexate, a drug commonly used for treating cancer, arthritis, and psoriasis. Cleft lip and cleft palate may also occur as a result of exposure to viruses or chemicals while the fetus is developing in the womb.In other situations, cleft lip and cleft palate may be part of another medical condition.